On Thursday, August 12, 2021, the world celebrates International Youth Day. The theme for this year’s commemoration, guided by input from various youth organizations, is “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health.”
Experts estimate the world’s population will increase by approximately two billion people over the next 30 years, making food security and sustainable food production practices a primary concern for young generations. This has prompted several youth advocacy groups to increase activism in a variety of areas of concern, including food security, equity and inclusion, climate change, and more.
The UN’s Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth (OSGEY) is one of the key figures in elevating youth voices and concerns. Currently led by Jayathma Wickramanayake of Sri Lanka, OSGEY will lead the two-day #YouthLead Innovation Festival on August 12-13, 2021. The #YouthLead festival is a multi-stakeholder effort to highlight youth-led innovation and bring “young innovators and solutions makers together with United Nations offices, policymakers and industry leaders.”
Youth voices are also being sought to increase pressure on world leaders to take more urgent climate action. Climate Changemakers, a collaborative campaign led by World’s Largest Lesson in partnership with UNICEF, invites children and youth to share brief messages about why climate education matters to them. The messages will be compiled and used to appeal to key decision makers in discussions related to the Sustainable Development Goals. The webpage also provides resources for educators who wish to introduce the topic of climate change to their students.
The theme of “Transforming Food Systems” will be highlighted in a United Nations webinar on August 12, at 9:00 AM ET. The webinar will engage youth leaders in the food security space in an effort to “promote innovation, knowledge exchange, and youth engagement by continuing the momentum to the high-level United Nations Food Systems Summit in September.”
Register/participate in the aforementioned campaigns and events by following the links below:
- #YouthLead Innovation Festival: https://www.un.org/youthenvoy/youthlead-innovation-festival/
- Climate Changemakers: https://climatechangemakers.worldslargestlesson.globalgoals.org/
- OSGEY Transforming Food Systems Webinar: https://www.un.org/development/desa/youth/iyd2021.html